Brief update on the Tianjin Municipal Archives (天津市档案局) and Shanghai Municipal Archives (上海市档案局).
To browse the electronic catalog at the Tianjin Municipal Archives, there are now computers available both in the foyer of the archive and also on the second floor in the electronic materials reading room (电子阅览室). In addition to the twelve computers (of varied working ability) in this reading room, there is also a microfilm machine on the second floor, although we came across no microfilm documents throughout our visit. Taking pictures in this reading room, of either search results or digitized documents themselves, appears to be allowed by the archival staff. However, thus far very few documents have been digitized, and picture-taking is strictly prohibited in the document reading room (文献阅览室).
Although there are lockers outside the document reading room, placing your belongings in the lockers is not strictly enforced. You may bring any of your belongings into the reading room, but you may not place them directly on top of the desks. You may request from five to 10 documents at one time but must completely finish reading each set of documents before requesting more. Neither printing nor photocopying is available for any documents.
The best food options in the area are all on Nankai campus. There is a small food court and shopping market directly in front of the Fukang Road entrance to the university. Within walking distance, just north of the old library and history department building, there is a student cafeteria with many reasonably priced food options available. The first floor is restricted to students – and closed during the summer – but anyone can buy food on the second floor with a cafeteria card, available in the cafeteria with a 20 yuan deposit.
At the Shanghai Municipal Archives, as recently as summer 2013, it seems that both a passport and a letter of introduction from a Chinese university are absolutely required for foreign researchers. A letter from your home institution outside of China will not suffice.
Printing of all digitized documents is now free with several restrictions: only fifty pages may be printed per day, only a third of any document may be printed, and all printing requests take at least five business days to process. There is no printing from microfilm documents allowed, nor is photocopying of original or digitized documents.
Melissa Brzycki and Stephanie Montgomery
Department of History
University of California, Santa Cruz
Image: Tianjin Municipal Archives.